Maybe it’s not a law on the books in some creepy, courthouse basement, but it is a law of nature that to be a good writer, you need to be a good reader. Also, I think you can tell a bit about the kind of writer a person is based on his/her favorite authors. Here are some of mine.
If you are interested in good, Christian fiction (and, presumably, that’s exactly what has found you here), then you may have already enjoyed some of the great work of Francine Rivers. Her Redeeming Love and The Last Sin Eater are page turners that will have you laughing, crying and in suspense. You really get to know and love her characters. And no Christian writer that I’ve come across does a better job of historical Christian fiction than Ms. Rivers. These books are for teens on the verge of adulthood at the youngest, if for no other reason than the depth of the issues the stories deal with.
My absolute favorite writer on general Christian topics (I guess you might call him an essayist) is Philip Yancey. He is straightfoward, more than well-read on a wide variety of subjects, and not afraid to admit when he doesn’t have an answer. He is “tuned in” to God in a powerful way, and taking time to read some of his books can only enhance your own walk with and understanding of our relationship to God. At least, that’s been my experience.
Since I have always been interested in history and other cultures, there are a few mass audience writers that I also enjoy. Bernard Cornwell is someone who does a great job of rendering you through the experiences of events that happened hundreds of years ago. Edward Rutherford also does a great job of going far back in time and making us understand the world from different perspectives. I especially liked his Sarum and London books.
Having a Master’s degree in English, I also enjoy good, stand-the-test-of-time literature. Mark Twain, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Jane Austen are some of my favorites. Newer writers like Toni Morrison and Leslie Marmon Silko also rate at the top of my list for their ability to represent all of us at the same time they see the world from their unique, cultural perspectives. Fiction that has the lyricism of poetry will get me any and every time.